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Social Media Roundup – December 2011

Bloggers can be a business's best friends
A powerful and frequently misunderstood aspect of creating an online presence is the necessity of link-building. Inbound links are the currency of the Internet, the most important things a website needs to rank well in Google and other search engines. One of the best ways to get inbound links is discovering which bloggers are most relevant to a business and cultivating friendly relations with them. Besides providing inbound links, bloggers can be a source of reviews, feature stories, and a crucial bridge to the community that's most interested in a business's products or services. This is a great piece about how to communicate with this important group of people.

YouTube releases updates to YouTube Analytics
Video creators have been able to find out who's watching their videos and where they come from through YouTube Insight. A new release adds a quick overview facility, more detailed reports analyzing audiences and content to better understand which videos are working best, and how much of the videos viewers are actually watching. The YouTube Creator Playbook has also been updated to show YouTube publishers how to use the new features in the release to improve their performance.

Do you need a website if you have a Facebook Page?
Here's a great rundown of the pros and cons of using Facebook as your website. If your business has no Internet presence at all, or the time and expense of developing a website is daunting, using a Facebook Page as your home on the Internet may be a good idea. There are both pluses and minuses, of course, and there are no free lunches: someone is still going to have to do the work of establishing and maintaining your digital presence.

Making online content more accessible
Two million people in the U.S. are blind or visually impaired. Many more people will be joining them as Baby Boomers age. Here are some good practices to keep in mind to help blind and visually impaired users navigate your websites and social media platforms. The video embedded in this article gives a tour of how the web can be navigated without sight. One thing that visually impaired people hate (many regular users do, too) is CAPTCHAs (challenge-response tests used to ensure that the response is generated by a real person, not a "bot").

Business Pages come to Google+
Google+ has now added business pages. Here's a detailed tutorial on how to set one up for your business. If you haven't tried Google+, now is a good time to get started. More and more Google products and services are being tied into the new social media platforms, a trend that will only become more important to online marketers.

Come on up and set a spell: Google+ Hangouts
One of Google+'s most intriguing features is Hangouts (multiuser video chats). Google describes them as a virtual "front porch" where the Hangout host comes out and invites passersby to come and join them. Hangouts can be used for customer service, internal communications, and much more. They're fun, too. Good tips and pointers about how and why to use them.

What people "Like" on Facebook: not just deals
These "infographics" from Crowd Science gather statistics about what kinds of content attracts more "Likes" on Facebook. Some of the interesting takeaways: 1) videos get fewer "Likes" than photos, wall posts, and comments; 2) only 8% of Facebook users do not use the "Like" button; and 3) 10% say they liked a brand to show support, compared with 6% who do it only to get discounts. The last stat is especially interesting, as many analysts have come to believe that only deals and discounts draw massive numbers of "Likes" on Facebook Pages.

Satisfied customers like to be asked for referrals
Word of mouth is the best marketing. Many of us overlook the fact that we need to ask our satisfied customers to tell their friends about us. While business owners and their staffs may find asking for referrals awkward, people love to tell others about good experiences. It's important that a business not go overboard. A gentle hint to customers may be all it takes to get great referrals.

Getting better at local search
Learn more about how to optimize your web presence to get found in local searches. Customers are usually not looking for something in another city, they're looking for something around the corner. Developers of local market websites must learn the best ways to get found. Google and the other search engine companies are constantly improving the quality of their local search results. Here are five ways to get better at ranking in local search.

Cameras, software, and hosting for video marketers
John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing shares what's in his video toolbox. Good tips on cameras, software, hosting, and more. If you're new to video marketing, or want to get better at it, this is a good place to start.

Email still works
Even though social media has grown enormously over the last few years, email marketing is still one of the most effective in the box. Tips for effective use of email marketing: get people to up, give people something valuable in return for that signup, keep items short and scannable, and make it easy to share them.

Daniel Lieberman is the founder of Daniel Lieberman Digital ("I speak Geek - You don't need to"). Based in Shelburne Falls, Mass., he helps companies, organizations, and individuals learn to use the Internet to communicate, market, and brand themselves using the most up-to-date tools and techniques. Contact him at 413-489-1818 or daniel@daniellieberman.org.

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